Our August meeting was another well attended event, but those expecting to see Barry Dunstan’s recently restored Fiat 124 Coupe were somewhat confused when confronted in the dining room by Graeme Hollingsworth’s impressive 1968 E-Type Jaguar.
Over the last few weeks Barry had been chasing an intermittent misfire in the Fiat twin-cam, he eventually replaced all the ignition components and then stripped down and rebuilt the twin Weber IDF carbies. Unfortunately the problem remained and seemingly grew progressively worse, so regrettably Barry had to cancel his 124’s debut appearance.
At the eleventh hour, your correspondent contacted Graeme to see if his E-Type was available for Thursday evening. Twenty-four hours later – following an overnight battery charge and a quick scrub down, we had another spectacular classic car on display for our monthly meeting.
Graeme’s Jag is an XK-E Series 1.5 Fixed Head Coupe. The main difference between this model and the earlier Series-1 cars are the more prominent headlights and a larger 4.2 litre engine. Only 375 RHD versions of the Series 1.5 were built and this one was originally delivered to Singapore in 1968 before being imported into Australia. In fact, less than 400 E-Types were sold new in Australia between 1961 and 1975, most of those you see on the road have been more recent private imports.
The engine in this XK-E has been enlarged from 4.2 to 4.5 litres, the compression upped to 12:1, a pair of modified cam-shafts fitted and it breaths deeply through triple Weber DCOE carburettors. The historically-troublesome standard gearbox has been replaced by a 5-speed Getrag box and the brakes up-graded to competition-standard ventilated discs with huge, multi-piston callipers. The engine develops something around 300bhp and has a purposeful bark from the prominent twin stainless steel exhaust pipes. Graeme admits that the car doesn’t handle all that well due to its long, narrow wheelbase and stiffly sprung suspension, but it does have very impressive acceleration.
The Committee are grateful to Graeme for filling the gap in our meeting program on such very short notice.
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